|Format||One Day International|
|Last tournament||2014–15 Tri-Series|
|Tournament format||Triangular round robin
followed by a best of three final
|Number of teams|| Australia
|Most successful||Australia (20)|
The Australian Tri-Series refers to the one day international (ODI) cricket tournament held in Australia each summer, and contested by Australia and two touring teams. The series is played during the height of the Australian cricket season, in the summer months of December, January and February. The series has been the primary format for international one-day cricket throughout most of the history of ODI cricket in Australia. The tri-series was first held in 1979–80 and was contested every season until 2007–08. It has since been held twice, in the 2011–12 season, and again in the 2014–15 season, prior to the World Cup.
The concept of a three-team international series known as a tri-series in cricket originated with the World Series Cricket program sponsored by Kerry Packer. Packer was keen to exploit what he saw as strong interest in ODI cricket, and staged long tri-series amongst teams from Australia, West Indies, and The rest of the World in the 1977–78 and 1978–79 seasons. These tournaments have never been awarded either One Day International or List A status.
When the World Series Cricket schism ended in 1979–80, the tri-series format was retained. Throughout its existence, the tournament was held as a series of One Day Internationals, featuring a round-robin played amongst the three teams, followed by a finals series played between the top two. The current format, as well as the most common format over the years, is that each team plays each other four times in the round-robin, followed by a final, which is decided by a best-of-three series (with the third match played only if necessary), for a total of fourteen or fifteen ODIs played through the summer.
The basic format has been unchanged throughout the tri-series' history, but specific details have varied:
- From 1980–81 to 1985–86, and in 1998–99, each team played the others five times during the round robin
- In 1980–81 and 1981–82, the finals series was best of five
- In 1994–95 only, a quadrangular series featuring two touring sides, Australia and Australia A was played; each team played the others twice during the round robin, followed by a best-of-three finals series. Matches played against Australia A are considered List A matches, but not ODIs.
- In 2004–05 only, each team played the others only three times during the round robin
Over its duration, the series has taken on several mostly commercial names:
- Benson & Hedges World Series Cup (1979–80 to 1987–88)
- Benson & Hedges World Series (1988–89 to 1995–96)
- New laws limiting tobacco advertising in Australia forced the name to change after 1995–96
- Carlton and United Series (1996–97 to 1999–2000)
- Carlton Series (2000–01)
- VB Series (2001–02 to 2005–06)
- Commonwealth Bank Series (2006–07 to 2012–13)
- Carlton Mid Series (From 2013–14)
After the 2007–08 season, the tri-series format was abandoned. For three seasons (2008–09 until 2010–11), Australia still played ODIs against two touring teams, but these were staged as separate ODI series against a single opponent. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia was still the naming rights sponsor of ODI cricket in Australia during these summers, so all series were still known as the Commonwealth Bank Series during this time.
The tri-series format returned in the 2011–12 season, but according to the ICC Future Tours Programme, this will not herald a permanent return to the format. A shortened Australian Tri-Series is scheduled for the 2014–15 season in the lead-up to the 2015 World Cup in Australia; otherwise, all ODI series that Australia is scheduled to host up to the 2019–20 season will be played against a single opponent.
Played mostly during a strong era for Australian cricket, Australia won nineteen of the thirty tri-series played up to 2011–12. Australia failed to reach the finals on only three occasions. West Indies, who featured in the series frequently during the 1980s, was the next most successful team, winning six tournaments. Other international teams to win the tri-series were England (twice), India, Pakistan and South Africa (once each).
Tournament results by season
Notable moments in the Australian Tri-Series
- 1979–80 – The match on 27 November 1979 between Australia and West Indies in Sydney was the first official One Day International to be played at night. Like the tri-series concept itself, night matches were a World Series Cricket initiative that was adopted into ODI cricket.
- 1979–80 – England defeated West Indies by two runs in Sydney when, West Indies requiring three runs to win from the final ball of the match, England captain Mike Brearley pushed all of his fieldsmen, including the wicket-keeper, back to the boundary. ODI rules were changed to incorporate fielding restrictions to prevent any repeat of this incident.
- 1980–81 – In the third final, with New Zealand needing six runs from the final ball to tie the match, Australian captain Greg Chappell ordered his younger brother, Trevor to bowl the ball underarm along the ground. This was one of cricket's most controversial moments of all time. ODI laws were changed so that any ball delivered underarm would be called a no-ball.
- 1981–82 – In the final qualifying match, Australia defeated West Indies at Sydney on run-rate after rain washed out the last 6.5 overs of the match; the Melbourne Age newspaper later alleged that West Indies had deliberately lost the match to ensure that Australia got to the finals series ahead of Pakistan, which would result in a gain of $800,000 to the Australian Cricket Board in extra gate takings. West Indian captain Clive Lloyd won a libel action and $100,000 in damages against the newspaper.
- 1982–83 – New Zealand breaks the world record for the highest successful run chase in an ODI, scoring 297–6 to surpass England's 296–5 in Adelaide. The record stood until 1992.
- 1982–83 – In the second final at Melbourne versus Australia, New Zealander Lance Cairns scored the then World record fastest ODI fifty off 21 balls, hitting 6 sixes. This is the still currently the fastest 50 in Australian Tri-Series matches.
- 1983–84 – The first ever tied One-day International took place in the second final at the MCG between Australia and West Indies, after Carl Rackemann was run out attempting the winning run.
- 1984–85 – West Indies were the first team to go through the qualifying round unbeaten by winning all 10 matches. Although they lost the first match v Australia, they came back from behind to win the finals series 2–1.
- 1985–86 – After having clinched a finals berth, Australia was defeated by New Zealand by 206 runs in Adelaide after being bowled out for 70. This remains Australia's heaviest defeat by runs in ODI history.
- 1985–86 – Australian fast bowler Bruce Reid took the first hat-trick in the history of the Australian Tri-series in Sydney versus New Zealand on 29 January 1986.
- 1986–87 – This season was the first time the 4-times Tri-Series champions, West Indies did not make the finals as England beat Australia 2–0. Mike Gatting's side also won that season's Ashes Test match series and the Perth Challenge one day tournament.
- 1988–89 – The first match of that season's tournament, West Indies v Pakistan, Adelaide, 10 December 1988, was the first one day international to feature shirts bearing the player's names.
- 1988–89 – In the third final at Sydney, rain stopped play for one hour and 25 minutes with West Indies at 47/2 after 6.4 overs chasing Australia's 4/226 off 38 overs, and West Indies target was revised to 108 off the 18 overs that remained; West Indies won the match (and the competition) with 4.4 overs remaining after Desmond Haynes hit Steve Waugh for six. Australian fans loudly booed this unsatisfactory conclusion, and criticism from the media led to the average run rate method being replaced by the most productive overs method for setting revised targets in interrupted matches.
- 1992–93 – West Indian all-rounder Phil Simmons recorded bowling figures of 4/3 from 10 overs against Pakistan in Sydney. These remain the most economical bowling figures in one-day international history (qualification of 30 balls bowled).
- 1995–96 – The first match in the tournament, West Indies v Sri Lanka Adelaide, 15 December 1995, was the first One Day International that featured numbers and names on the back of player's shirts after they were introduced for that season's Mercantile Mutual Cup tournament. That same year, Michael Bevan famously hit four runs off the last ball of the match to give Australia victory against West Indies on New Year's Day.
- 1996–97 – Australia misses the finals for the first time since the 1979–80 Series; it is also the first time West Indies finish as Runners-up, with Pakistan winning the series 2 – 0, and not even a blackout in the 2nd final could stop them from winning.
- 2000–01 – Mark Waugh scored 173 runs for Australia against West Indies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the highest innings total in Australian Tri-Series history.
- 2001–02 – Australia misses the finals for a third time, South Africa wins the finals 2 – 0 over New Zealand.
- 2003–04 – Ajit Agarkar recorded bowling figures of 6/42 from 9.3 overs against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. It was the first and, to date, only six wicket haul in an Australian Tri-series match.
- 2005–06 – In the third final at Brisbane, Adam Gilchrist scored the fastest century in Australian Tri-Series history off 67 balls versus Sri Lanka.
- 2006–07 – Despite losing 5–0 to the Australians in the Ashes, England staged a comeback to win the tri-series against them.
- 2011–12 – Daniel Christian became the 31st person, and only the 4th Australian, to take a One Day hat-trick.
Notes and references
-  Cricinfo, URL accessed 2 February 2011
- "FTP 2011 to 2020 Version 3" (PDF). International Cricket Council. 14 Dec 2011. Retrieved 25 Feb 2012.
- Carlton and United Series 1996/97 from CricketArchive, URL accessed 17 January 2006
- Carlton and United Series 1997/98 from CricketArchive, URL accessed 17 January 2006
- Carlton and United Series 1998/99 from CricketArchive, URL accessed 17 January 2006
- Carlton and United Series 1999/00 from CricketArchive, URL accessed 17 January 2006
- Carlton Series 2000/01 from CricketArchive, URL accessed 17 January 2006
- VB Series 2001/02 from CricketArchive, URL accessed 17 January 2006
- VB Series 2002/03 from CricketArchive, URL accessed 17 January 2006
- VB Series 2003/04 from CricketArchive, URL accessed 17 January 2006
- VB Series 2004/05 from CricketArchive, URL accessed 17 January 2006
- VB Series 2005/06 from CricketArchive, URL accessed 2 November 2006
- Commonwealth Bank Series 2006/07 from CricketArchive, URL accessed 11 January 2007
- Commonwealth Bank Series 2007/08 from CricketArchive, URL accessed 4 March 2008
- Commonwealth Bank Series 2011/12 from CricketArchive, URL accessed 9 March 2011
- "Records – ODI Run Chases". Cricinfo. Retrieved 25 Feb 2012.
- "Records/One-Day Internationals/Batting records/Fastest fifties" (trophy). Cricinfo. Retrieved 9 Jan 2012.
- http://static.espncricinfo.com/db/ARCHIVE/1980S/1984-85/OD_TOURNEYS/WSC/ World Series Cricket in Australia (Aus SL WI) : Jan/Feb 1985-Cricinfo
- "Records – One Day Internationals – Team Records – Largest margin of victory (by runs)". Cricinfo. Retrieved 27 Dec 2011.
- Frindall, Bill (1997) Limited-Overs International Cricket The Complete Record Headline Publishing – p 271
- Report of the match
- "Records – One Day Internationals – Bowling Records – Best Economy Rate in an Innings". Cricinfo. Retrieved 27 Dec 2011.
- Frindall, Bill (1997) Limited-Overs International Cricket The Complete Record Headline Publishing – p 513
- "5th Match: Australia v West Indies at Sydney". Cricinfo. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
- "Records – Australian Tri-series – List A matches – High scores". Cricinfo. Retrieved 27 Dec 2011.
- "Records – Australian Tri-series – List A matches – Best bowling figures in an innings". Cricinfo. Retrieved 27 Dec 2011.
- "VB Series 3rd Final:Australia v Sri Lanka". Cricinfo. Retrieved 11 Jan 2012.
- "Brilliant England snatch surprise series triumph". Cricinfo. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
- "12th Match: Australia v Sri Lanka at Melbourne". Cricinfo. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
- "Christian bags hat trick against Sri Lanka". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
- Limited Overs International Cricket – The Complete Record (1971–1996), Bill Frindall Headline ISBN 0-7472-1173-6
- One Day International Cricket – The Ultimate Guide to Limited-Overs Internationals compiled by Stephen Samuelson, Ray Mason and David Clark. Feb 1999. Robinson Publishing ISBN 1-84119-038-1